Canton, OH – When your leading scorer is sitting on the bench in street clothes, you better hope some other people step up in his absence. For Geneva’s men’s basketball team, it found itself in that very predicament on Friday night in the first round of the Malone College Classic. Playing without leading scorer Kyle McDermott, who broke his nose in a game last Saturday, Geneva dropped a 72-63 decision to St. Francis, IL. The loss dropped Geneva’s overall record to 6-4, while St. Francis improved to 4-4 on the young season.
While not everyone on head coach Jeff Santarsiero’s bench stepped up on Friday, freshman Brian Hill did all he could to pick up the slack. Hill canned seven three pointers and led all scorers with 23 points. While Hill was 7-13 from outside the arc, the rest of Geneva’s team was 2-10. Jermaine Ferguson finished as Geneva’s only other player in double figures with 11 points and a team best eight rebounds.
Geneva trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half, but rallied late to cut St. Francis’ lead to just 36-33 after 20 minutes of play. “Our guys worked extremely hard to get back into the game,” said head coach Jeff Santarsiero. “Obviously, Kyle would have made a huge impact on the outcome of this game, but injuries are a part of sports and we needed other people to step up in his absence.”
St. Francis finished with four players in double figures led by Mike Smith’s 20 points. St. Francis shot 52% from the field for the game, while Geneva shot 39%, including only nine field goals in the second half.
Geneva will play host Malone College on Saturday afternoon to close out the tournament. The Golden Tornadoes will return to Metheny Fieldhouse next Saturday to play host to Penn State-Beaver.